“Every Foreign Guest must present passport for photocopying” at Hotel Crown Hills Kokura; Japanese Police up to same old unlawful tricks in Fukuoka Prefecture


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Hi Blog.  Despite years of articles and corrections made by official bodies, the Japanese Police are still bending the laws to have Japanese hotels engage in racial profiling, targeting all “Foreign Guests” (not “Foreign Tourists” as the law explicitly says), and demanding they produce ID for inspection and photocopying, including passports.  More on all that here, here, here, here, and here.

Debito.org Reader MR sent word that the latest skulduggery can be found courtesy of the Fukuoka Prefectural Police at an establishment named “Hotel Crown Hills Kokura” in Kitakyushu.

ホテルクラウンヒルズ小倉(BBHホテルグループ): 093-521-0109

Here’s his report pieced together from texts:


MR: I made a reservation for a buddy on Japanese-language Rakuten Travel (楽天トラベル) website at the Hotel Crown Hills Kokura.  At check in tonight (12/9/19) at around 7:45PM, the Front Desk asked for his passport to photocopy.  He is a Permanent Resident (永住者), so I intervened and told them so.  They then immediately withdrew the request for the passport, but still asked for and checked his Gaijin Card (在留カード).

To their credit, the clerks at the Front Desk were cool, and I have nothing against them given this sign from the Fukuoka Police at the counter.  MR



Here we have another multilingual sign (Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic) at a hotel front produced by the Japanese Police that ignores the law and encourages racial profiling.  This one not only lists the approval of the Fukuoka Prefectural Police (and erroneously cites the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), but also all Fukuoka Prefectural Public Health Departments (Fukuoka Kennai Kaku Hokenjo).  Even though we’ve already had at least one Hokenjo (in Mito) correct the overzealous local police before on the letter of the law, which is:

If you have an address in Japan, you do not have to show any ID at a hotel check in.  Just write that address in the hotel guest book.  That goes for Japanese and NJ residents of Japan.  

The law on hotel (and minpaku) ID checks only applies to foreign tourists without an address in Japan.  So demand it be it enforced (download a file to help you do so here).  

Meanwhile, if you want to do what Debito.org Reader Onur did some months ago, contact the local Hokenjo and get the law corrected.  Clearly the Japanese police are not going to police themselves.  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

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23 comments on ““Every Foreign Guest must present passport for photocopying” at Hotel Crown Hills Kokura; Japanese Police up to same old unlawful tricks in Fukuoka Prefecture

  • Of course, this should be recorded for the historical record, but what’s the point in commenting? It’s typical Japan cognitive dissonance; japanese economy desperately needs tourist yen and promotes itself as a tourist destination around the world with official government policy to increase tourist numbers more than four-fold meets unfounded ‘danger’ NJ myth pushed by those same policy makers who wish to keep Japanese people isolated from external realities.
    Oh yeah, and an underworked overstaffed police force.

    • As you say, it’s good to have this article, however we don’t have much left to comment.

      It’s like the recent Shingetsu News Agency article “Racial profiling at Japanese hotel check-in”: great for readers of SNA, but for those that already follow Debito.org, it’s sadly more of the same.

    • Loverilakkuma says:

      Well, I think it’s because each documented evidence will provide readers a unique aspect to observe, scrutinize, and critique problematic, hegemonic aspects of discourse practice in Japanese society. Sure, most of documented records appeared in the blog are contextually similar, and we will likely reach the same conclusion. But, we may be able to find more insights into dynamics of this abusive practice– hotel’s assumption on business training (how does it contrast with the treatment of foreign clients?; what’s wrong with staff training? Why are their staff so illiterate with hotel/labor law?); labor ministry giving police a carte blanche on ID policy at hotels/lodges (ministry abandoning its position to order and correct practitioners/law enforcers wrong); and public indifference (why is public understanding of Foreigner ID policy less sympathetic, and why is such discourse normalized?)

      I think that’s why we see the door always open.

  • It’s not technically “erroneous” to cite the MHLW, since they do distribute the model accommodation contracts that hotels tend to just use without checking whether their wording is correct and/or legally binding, and the that model accommodation contract is apparently where this error originates.

    It’s pretty easy to see how a string of civil servants and/or hoteliers not properly acquainted with the writing up of contracts would inadvertently change
    to “外国人の訪日観光客にあっては、国籍、旅券番号、入国地及び入国年月日”
    to “外国人のお客様にあっては、国籍、旅券番号、入国地及び入国年月日”
    to “外国人にあっては、国籍、旅券番号、入国地及び入国年月日”
    without any particular malice.

    The reader in this case should probably contact the hotel and politely inform them of the error, anyway. I’ve found most hotels are quite happy to correct themselves on this particular point.

    — But the onus shouldn’t be on the customer to have to ask for corrections. They should be allowed to check into a hotel like any fellow resident of Japan without hassle.

    • ”anyway. I’ve found most hotels are quite happy to correct themselves on this particular point.”

      Most? That’s a problem. ALL corporate entities and their employees should follow the law, not just most. It’s a weird sentiment you have, that is not reciprocated back to foreigners by Japanese. You never hear, oh most foreigners obey the law so they’re alright.

      And, do they stop doing it to other foreign customers after you correct them? Or do they just let you slide and repeat it all again with the next gaijin once you are out of earshot?

      What country do you come from where you are OK with racial profiling? I am interested.

    • @OwenHughes

      “this error”
      “inadvertently change”
      to “外国人” “without any particular malice”

      “I’ve found most hotels are quite happy to correct themselves on this particular point.”

      “explaining the situation seems to work somewhere 90 and 100% of the time.”

      “the four or five times that I’ve been asked for my passport by a hotel receptionist, explained that as a resident with an address in Japan I am not subject to that rule, and either (a) had the hotel receptionist immediately say “Oh, okay.” and apologize, or (b) saw the reception contact one of her superiors who clarified that I was right, and then apologize to me”

      Owen Hughes
      Making excuses for hotels’
      illegal Room-Refusal-Threat #1:

      Owen Hughes
      Making excuses for hotels’
      illegal Room-Refusal-Threat #2:

      Owen Hughes
      Making excuses for hotels’
      illegal Room-Refusal-Threat #3:

      Owen Hughes
      Making excuses for hotels’
      illegal Room-Refusal-Threat #4:

      Owen Hughes
      Making excuses for hotels’
      illegal Room-Refusal-Threat #5:


      And yes, “you must show ID to check-in” IS in fact threatening “if you don’t show ID you can’t check in here.”

      Owen, you imply you “succeeded” in having convinced some hotels to back down from their illegal “gaikokujin must show passport or no check in” threat, but you don’t admit the number of times during those “successes” you weakly SHOWED your Zairyuu Kaado to PROVE you are indeed an address-having resident gaikokujin. If you showed your Zairyuu Kaado, even merely flashing it at them for a second, THEY succeeded in forcing you to voluntarily agree to their illegal “gaikokujin must show ID or no check in” policy which is usually unwritten and only occasionally so boldy written as in the photos above.

      So, you merely “educated” those “4 or 5” hotels about the fact that “some gaikokujin don’t need to show passports”, but did you “educate” them about the fact that “gaikokujin who are NOT tourists” do NOT need to show any ID at all, just like Japanese citizens do NOT need to show any ID at all, and you probably did NOT educate them about the fact that threatening ANYONE with “no check in, to a room we have available, since you didn’t show us ID” is an illegal threat.

      Such half-assed “I don’t need to show my passport, because I’m not a passport-carrying tourist, see, I’m a resident, here’s my Zairyuu Kaado to prove my claim” “success” is not really a success at all, it is a failure.

      Here’s a serious test: let us call the 4 or 5 hotels which you “successfully educated” and we will ask them, Socrates-style, Borat-style, acting as if we don’t have knowledge of the law, acting as if are willing to show whatever they tell us we are “required” to show, we will ask “when gaikokuin come to check-in, what kind of ID must gaikokujin show during check-in at your hotel?”

      (Which will produce MUCH a more authentic usual reply, compared to if YOU call them in advance and attempt to prompt them to give a different answer by saying, “As a gaikokujin who knows hotel law well, if I write my Japan address on the check-in sheet, hotel law states you cannot then demand I show my zairyuu kaado right, and you cannot demand I show ID at all, according to hotel law, right, right?” so don’t ruin the test by doing that, Owen.)

      When we call, feigning ignorance and feigning willingness to do anything they demand, probably half of them will use the illegal “to check-in all gaikokujin must show passport” threat (meaning they learned nothing from your “education”, they simply let the uppity foreigner pass through after he made a fuss and kept the policy firmly in place after you left, and the other half of them will use the illegal “to check-in all gaikokujin must show either passport or zairyuu kaado” threat, which means ALL of those hotels are STILL committing the illegal “gaikokujin must show ID, we refuse our available room to all gaikokujin who don’t show us ID” threat.

      And, in addition to illegally threatening all gaikokujin with room refusal for not showing ID, those same hotels which you “educated” will probably tell us on the phone (since we will be acting so willing to do anything they demand) “and in addition to seeing your ID we must also take a copy of your ID to make sure our records are correct, or else the check-in process is not complete. So really our policy is: gaikokujin must allow copying or we refuse to rent a room to you.”

      Let’s see, are you honest enough to answer without hesitation, to answer without misdirection, to answer WITHOUT you calling them first, WITHOUT you feeding them the correct legal answers first: what are the names and locations of the 4 or 5 hotels which threatened you with their “totally rare” “totally not a big deal” “all gaikokujin must show passport to check in” policy:


    • Loverilakkuma says:

      >>The reader in this case should probably contact the hotel and politely inform them of the error, anyway. I’ve found most hotels are quite happy to correct themselves on this particular point.

      It’s hotel’s job– not customers. If Japanese hotels think they have their own rights to select and treat customers based on color of their skin or phenotypes, rather than zip codes, there’s a clear problem. Again, very few Japanese natives are asked for an ID because they are believed to have an address in their home soil. Foreigners, on the other hand, have a high chance of being subject to intrusive ID policy primarily because some Japanese hotels wrongly assume they don’t live in Japan. That assumption is not something that can be easily fixed. It gives them an ammunition for discriminatory practice for many years, and such practice is normalized today. As long as you turn away from it, this kind of foreigner harassment/ misinformation will never be solved.

  • “It’s pretty easy to see how a string of civil servants and/or hoteliers not properly acquainted with the writing up of contracts”

    No, Owen you are wrong. This has nothing to do with contracts. I’m not sure why you even mention contracts. It’s about what the wording of a law is is. I can read Japanese. You seem to think that eliminating the exact wording of a law is A-OK! But you are wrong.

  • I’ve said a few times that the Japanese police are over staffed and underworked, hence all the free time they have to make trouble for NJ, and the constant need to justify budget and staffing levels by constantly ramping up the fear of NJ (hey, remember the Shibuya Halloween ‘chaos’?).
    Well, let’s put some numbers on that!

    Over the festive season, Tokyo PD will mobilize 166,000 police.

    Compare that to London (which has faced several recent serious terror incidents); 31,075.

    Or New York, (forever emblazoned on a generations psyche as a lawless jungle thanks to Micheal Winner’s Death Wish), and scene of actual 9/11 attack; 36,000.

    Tokyo. Drunken parties. 166,000. THAT’S what a police state looks like. THAT’S how much fear the corrupt ‘elite’ have of their own society.

  • Gianluca Stafisso says:

    I had the same problem at Bayside Hotel Azur Takeshiba (Tokyo), on October 22. My JP wife made a 2 days reservation showing my name on Rakuten 45 days in advance. (I am a long term resident.)
    I came really exhausted because it was not easy at all to find it though using the GPS maps, and 7 minute walking distance.
    At the front desk I showed the reservation copy, and JP woman confirmed my reservation, but she asked the passport…

    Then (holding it in my hand) I showed my JP Gold driving license confirming my address.
    She said is OK but this can be fake. I want to check your passport.

    Then I showed my Kenko Hokken card, she said is ok,but it can be fake so that she need to check my passport. (my JP whife always shows only her KH).

    Then I showed my Zairiou card, she said OK, but it can be fake, so she insisted I want to see your passport for check-in.

    Then I asked to provide the form to fill, and I will repeat my residence in Japan and I asked her stop to ask for the passport that I never take with me.
    She provided the form and then she arrogantly asked again to see the passport.

    Finally I got upset, and I asked to have a manager. The manager came and talked to her. I finally got my check-in done. Not apology or any sorry, but as usual Japanese clerks giggling.

    I got the room key, and I asked how to connect the WiFi, at the end she asked last time if it was possible to see the passport.
    Well, I just said: “you are an AxxHxxx”.

    Luckily I did not see her anymore at the front desk, but other persons speaking a good English.. Hotel room, view, and breakfast service has been really nice. But the first front desk approach has been really nasty.

    When I am with my wife I am never asked any document, but sometime to fill the form to reconfirm my address and put my signature.

    Today I may know what text to bring to show at the front desk, just in case this arrogant JP behavior happens again.

    • Yeah, because nobody in the entire world has ever faked a passport. Never. It just doesn’t happen. That’s why passports automatically trump any other forms of ID. No doubts needed.

      I really hope she’ll one day realize the ridiculousness of her “I don’t accept that card because it could be a fake” argument, but I’m not very optimistic about that.

      Oh, and by the way, you weren’t required to show her anything in the first place. Tracking resident NJs that way is actually unlawful.

      • Caveat: I actually added sarcasm indicators at my first paragraph in forms of fake html tags. These obviously didn’t make it to the submitted post. In case you wonder, the first paragraph of my previous past is of course entirely sarcastic.

  • When I checked into Hotel Crown Hills Kushiro on Sunday December 22nd I was asked for a copy of my residence card after telling them I was a permanent resident so didn’t have my passport with me. It was the first time I’ve been asked ever since moving to Japan permanently in 2001.

    Of course I kicked up a fuss, told them (in Japanese) that I was under no obligation to show it to them and that the only people who I was obliged to show it to were the police or Immigration. I asked them why they wanted a copy and they said it was hotel rules.

    When it became obvious that there was absolutely no way I was going to show it them, let alone allow them to copy it, the subject was quickly dropped. I stayed for three nights and checked out on Christmas Day. When I checked out I brought it up again and asked for head office’s contact details so that I can contact them and let them know my feelings towards the request. The staff on reception acknowledged that they shouldn’t be asking but have apparently been asked by the Kushiro police, via the hotel’s parent company, for copies from all foreigners. I also told them about the similar incident in Kokura and that Hotel Crown Hills was getting a bad name among some foreign residents of Japan. The staff understood and were sympathetic. They asked me again to explain what exactly happened on Sunday to confirm that I was asked for my passport first and then my residence card when they knew I was a resident.

    Apart from that my stay at the hotel was fine and I hold nothing against the person behind reception as it was obvious they were just following the manual (as always), and they seemed a little shocked when I refused to show my card. There was nobody else on reception at the time so there wasn’t anyone for the person to check with. Maybe they were just a part-timer that didn’t know the law properly, but still, they should have. I didn’t see them on reception again.

    When I got back to Chitose it happened again at Chitose Airport Hotel in front of Chitose JR station. Pretty much the same scenario. I immediately refused and they accepted my reason straightaway and I got a ‘失礼しました’ . That was the end of it. When I checked in on the 21st December I wasn’t asked for ID of any kind.

  • Oldbutnotobselete says:

    Dr Debito, UK Passport holders may find the following information useful………….
    In particular, take notice of the list ……….
    • photocopies of the personal details page of the passport may be made, for the purposes of record keeping only, by the following persons: the holder/owner of the passport notaries, solicitors, banks and government departments a person or institution subject to the requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations  a person certifying that identification checks required under these Money Laundering Regulations have taken place.
    As can be seen, Hotel Staff are not mentioned.

  • Northern Fish says:

    I had the same issue in Haneda Inn hotel. I’m usually lax about showing my ID for security purposes, especially considering that I’m an Arab and 9/11 still haunts us. So when asked for my passport, I show up my zairyu card to prove my residency. However, when I’m with my JP wife and the staff see me speaking Japanese, they don’t require anything.

    At Haneda Inn, it was late at night after a 15 hour flight, I was exhausted and ready to sleep standing. The old man at the front desk asked for my passport (despite having my wife with me) and I took out my zairyu card. He took it to what I thought to get a better look at it, but he just disappeared into the back to make a photocopy of it.

    When he came back I told him the law forbids him of taking a photocopy. He just gave me a disgusted look of “wtf you saying” and replied with a cold “yes” then proceeded to insert the copy into a file. The place was crowded with other tired customers who wanted to check in and my wife was too exhausted to delay our check in any further.

    So I had to grit my frustration and let them have their way. I know I shouldn’t do that but they took advantage of the situation.

    Anyone knows where can I make an official complain about this? In other countries ppl usually contact the law-understanding police or ministry of trade’s consumer protection division. But seeing how chaotic the Japanese government is, I’m not sure anymore.

      • Jim Di Griz says:

        Exactly. Given that the Japanese police are misleading hotels into breaking the law by asking them to photocopy passports and zairyuu cards (never mind that the law says that if you have an address in Japan you don’t have to show anything, let alone allow copies to be made), it would be naive to think that any ‘rules’ about who can use the app and demand to scan the information are going to be anything other than absolutely flouted.
        And think about that; what shops are services are going to demand this now under threat of refusal of service? Think about all the times you’re going to have to read them the letter of the law, ask to speak to a manager, phone the police to give them clarification…
        It’s just going to be more bullying and browbeating that will require you to ruin your experience and waste your time to overcome. Another ‘why bother with Japan?’ moment for NJ.
        And of course, given that the Japanese haven’t completely understood the concepts of data privacy and data protection, it’s not going to be long until the information held on your zairyuu card is available for others without your knowledge and consent, is it?
        After all, the Japanese only recently stopped the widespread practice of purchasing privately compiled lists residents who have zainichi or buraku familial history so that potential employers or in-laws could ‘weed them out’.
        And until 15 years ago (at least) one university in Kyoto that I know was compiling information on its students, (names, what their lesson timetable was, addresses and telephone numbers) and selling it to pretty much just anybody (which led to at least one case of stalking that I was aware of).
        And let’s not forget that last year we discovered that the operators of the popular T-card reward card service was sending the J-police reams of documentation about which card users bought what, where and when, in the normal mail (seriously, paper copies!) without the police so much as providing a warrant! Blind compliance with authority!
        I gave no doubt that zairyuu card scanning apps will be abused, lack security, and will be a ‘this is Japan, moshiwake arimasen’ shambles of human rights abuse and invasion of privacy.

  • The government will develop a smartphone app to easily identify if residence cards, which are issued to foreign nationals, have been forged in an attempt to crack down on visa law violations, government officials have said.

    The app, intended for potential employers of foreign workers, will read data stored in the IC chip embedded in the cards and confirm whether the data matches information listed on the cards such as name and residential status.

    If this app can check a 在留カード, what’s to prevent it from also being able to check a 特別永住者証明書?

    How about a 住民基本台帳カード, or an 運転免許証 or a マイナンバーカード, or a パスポート?

    Seems to me like this is the latest incarnation of “Gaijin Guinea Pigs”.

  • Just read this interesting article that points out that ALL guests (including NJ) who check in to Love Hotels can do so without showing or being forced to allow the illegal copying of ANY I.D.!

    I never thought about that before.
    Clearly, either terrorists and international criminals have some aversion to staying in these sorts of establishments that is a greater priority than their crimes (hence the J-police don’t require them to check and copy NJ guest ID), OR…
    Regular hotel checks are an illegal violation of privacy by the J-police, and any attempt by them to force such checks on guests at Love Hotels would risk a vicious backlash not only for the general public who *require* the anonymity of such establishments, but presumably lawmakers and the well-connected who wish to keep their illicit activities private.

    • the whole point of a love hotel is anonymity for uwaki, etc. So there is no way they could ask for ID. So they ask for it at other hotels because they can get away with it…..


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